The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to avoid shooting research bears that are marked with large, colorful ear tags and have radio collars. While it is not illegal to shoot a research bear, the loss of those bears compromises the efforts of biologists to better understand the species’ population dynamics.
Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 30 radio-collared bears, most of them in the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork. Others are near the Cloquet Forestry Station, in and around Camp Ripley, and in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge.
“We’re asking hunters not to shoot these valuable research bears. As researchers, we’ve already spent a great deal of time and expense monitoring these bears,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear project leader. “We gain unique information from radio-collared bears over the long-term that aids in monitoring and managing the bear population.”